“I’ll try pick up the pen” he said, with his hands behind his back looking down at the whiteboard markers on the table, his face showing pretend strain. This is what my mentor, was illustrating to someone who had just told him they would “try” to do a directive. It is Yoda who says “Do or Do Not, there is no try”.
This blog was sparked by a comment to a post that was inviting people to attend a function, the person commented that they would try make it. My immediate thought was “No you won’t.” Now, before we all get on our high horses, we have all done it. This is probably something all of us are guilty of.
Why is that? Why do we say we will try? I think it gives us an out, if we say we will try, it leaves us a back door to sneak out of when we fail. Even when I looked it up in the dictionary it seems to leave room for failure.
verb (tries, trying, tried)
1 [ no obj. ] make an attempt or effort to do something: [ with infinitive ] : he tried to regain his breath | I started to try and untangle the mystery | I decided to try writing fiction | [ with obj. ] : three times he tried the manoeuvre and three times he failed.
Could it be apathy? Could it be fear? Could it be shame? What drives us to not commit, not to stand our ground, make a decision and then stand by it. What make us shy away afraid to “rock the boat”? Is it that we really want to say No but are too afraid to hurt someones feelings?
Having just read the Boundaries book, it has brought home the importance of not only giving a strong No but learning to gracefully receive them, it has shifted a lot of what I would have put up with before. The thing we need to understand is, especially in the Christian world, where a no can be seen as a lack of ……… you fill in the blank. Clear and healthy boundaries are good for everyone. Not walls, boundaries, read the book to get clear on which are which. No, seriously, get the book and read it. Matthew gives good advice in Chapter 5:37 (NKJV) 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Most of us have unclear boundary lines because we know that our No is going to cause someone to be hurt, but as the book says hurt isn’t harm. By saying no to someone who is overstepping your boundary line, you may hurt them, but it will not harm them, if fact it does quite the opposite.If and a big if, they will learn. If they are wiling to learn, your relationship will get stronger, but if they are self centred, and become angry or leave, it is probably a relationship you could do well to say goodbye to.
If we are to have dominion as we were created to have, we should be good stewards over what God has given us, then it would do us well to have secure boundary lines that protect the gifts that God has given us. When we are secure in that, it frees us up from the tyranny of time, bullies and energy drainers to be a person of purpose and contribution. We reign in life rather than having chaos reign in our life.
It has brought a whole new meaning of my favourite Psalm 16:5. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
So next time you are tempted to answer with a “I’ll try”, stop and think about it, it is something you want or need to do. If it is, say Yes! If it is something you would rather not do, say No!
I leave you with a final word of wisdom from The Message: Matthew 33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong."